New Hampshire and California Jumping on the Cannabis Bandwagon

By on March 25, 2013

by Ali Papademetriou

New Hampshire’s House passed HB 573, or “An Act relative to the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes” with 286 yays and only 64 nays last week. First introduced in early January, the bill would allow those who hold a medical marijuana card protection from “arrest, prosecution, or penalty”, as the Act acknowledges that “Modern medical research has discovered beneficial uses for marijuana in treating or alleviating the pain, nausea, and other symptoms associated with a variety of debilitating medical conditions, as found by the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of medicine in March 1999.”

This is not New Hampshire’s only go-round with being on the side of granting citizens their inalienable right to self-governance, especially when it comes to productive reasons.

Last month, the state’s House Criminal Justice & Public Safety Committee passed the New Hampshire Hemp Freedom Act, which would lift the federal ban on industrial hemp. Hemp is a multi-usable product that was utilized by founding fathers Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, and can be used to manufacture numbers of products including textiles, paper, oils, food products and so much more.

Other states have recently introduced legislations in favor of industrial hemp including Kentucky, Washington and Missouri. Now, California is joining in and it’s making a strong impression and gaining momentum, with two bills being introduced last month – Assembly Bill 1137 and SB 566.

AB 1137 actually would alter the definition of marijuana in the state of California so that industrial hemp would not fall under the same category as marijuana that is medicinal or that is deemed illicit under federal law. After all, hemp only contains less than 1% THC, which is the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Similar to AB 1137, SB 566, known as the California Industrial Hemp Farming Act, would also make so that hemp would not fall under the same classification of medicinal or federally illegal marijuana.

Both legislations recognize that “Industrial hemp is produced in at least 30 nations, including Canada, Great Britain, France, Germany, Romania, Australia, and China, and is used by industry to produce thousands of products.”

Likewise, both state that, “According to estimates by the Hemp Industries Association, sales of industrial hemp products in the United States have grown steadily since 1990 to more than $400 million annually in 2009,” as well as, “California manufacturers of hemp products currently import from around the world tens of thousands of acres’ worth of hemp seed, oil, and fiber products that could be produced by California farmers at a more competitive price, and the intermediate processing of hemp seed oil, and fiber could create jobs in close proximity to the fields of cultivation.”

Image Reference

jan.stefka via Flickr.

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